Gun Ownership in Iraq

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I have twice
seen the same film clip on CBS news: an Iraqi citizen buying what
looks like a machine gun (Kalashnikov), and another citizen trying
out a semi-automatic pistol’s slide action. Both times, the voice-over
warned of Iraqis preparing to defend themselves.

Nobody mentions
the obvious: unless the film clip was staged, Saddam Hussein lets
Iraqis buy guns and ammo.

This testifies
against the theory that Saddam fears an organized uprising. If
he fears assassination — his supposed use of look-alikes in public
— he doesn’t fear it enough to impose complete gun control.

He claims
that he has no weapons of mass destruction. In
a recent article posted on the generally hawkish World Net Daily,
physicist Gordon Prather
cites long-suppressed evidence from
a top Iraqi defector that there are no WMD in Iraq. The defector
was General Hussein Kamal. He was Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law.
He was assassinated when he later returned to Iraq.

Kamal was interviewed by Rolf Ekeus, chairman of the U.N. Special
Commission on Iraq and Chief Inspector Maurizio Zifferero of
the International Atomic Energy Action Team, both established
by the U.N. Security Council to implement UNSC disarmament resolutions.

has obtained the U.N. document, verified its authenticity and
reports in its current issue that Kamal told the same story
to the CIA and to the Brits.

after the Gulf War ceasefire, but before the U.N. inspectors
had arrived in Iraq, Kamal said he ordered the destruction of
all chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles
to deliver them. . . .

inspectors — and hence all U.N. Security Council members — have
known for at least four years that, as best the U.N. inspectors
could subsequently discover, Kamal did tell the truth, when,
in response to the question posed by UNSCOM inspector Nikita

Were weapons and agents destroyed?

Nothing remained.

Was it before or after inspections started?

After visits of inspection teams. You have an important role
in Iraq with this. You should not underestimate yourself. You
are very effective in Iraq.

according to Kamal, himself, not only were all chembio "weapons
and agents destroyed", but U.N. inspectors had been "very
effective" in ferreting out what the Iraqis had done.

This information
was kept secret until Newsweek published it on February
24 of this year. You might think that this story would have been
front-page news in every newspaper in the world. It wasn’t.

I have repeatedly said, the coming war in Iraq isn’t about al-Qaeda.

It’s also not about weapons of mass destruction. It’s about the
control of the price of oil at the margin and placing U.S. troops
in the Middle East to keep the pipelines open.

If Iraq has
no WMD, then the invasion should be a cakewalk. But there is a
wild card: the willingness and the ability of Iraqis to defend
themselves from attack, house by house.

Urban warfare
is no picnic if the residents are willing to die, taking an invading
soldier with them, one by one. (Unless, of course, the invader
uses gas.)

This raises
the issue of the distribution of guns in Iraq.


The media’s
talking heads constantly cite the government’s accusation that
Saddam is another Hitler. In one crucial sense, he is nothing
like Hitler. Nazi Germany’s 1938 gun control law was signed into
law on March 18, 1938.

following information is posted on the Web site of Jews for the
Preservation of Firearms Ownership
, a pro-Second Amendment
organization. If you want to know why there are Jewish supporters
of this organization, which has been around a long time, read
the following. You may be amazed.

Until 1943-44,
the German government published its laws and regulations in
the u2018Reichsgesetzblatt,’ roughly the equivalent of the U.S.
Federal Register. Carefully shelved by law librarians, the 1938
issues of this German government publication had gathered a
lot of dust. In the u2018Reichsgesetzblatt’ issue for the week of
March 21, 1938, was the official text of the Weapons Law (March
18, 1938). It gave Hitler’s Nazi party a stranglehold on the
Germans, many of whom did not support the Nazis. We found that
the Nazis did not invent "gun control" in Germany.
The Nazis inherited gun control and then perfected it: they
invented handgun control.

The Nazi
Weapons Law of 1938 replaced a Law on Firearms and Ammunition
of April 13, 1928. The 1928 law was enacted by a center-right,
freely elected German government that wanted to curb "gang
activity," violent street fights between Nazi party and
Communist party thugs. All firearm owners and their firearms
had to be registered. Sound familiar? "Gun control"
did not save democracy in Germany. It helped to make sure that
the toughest criminals, the Nazis, prevailed.

The Nazis
inherited lists of firearm owners and their firearms when they
u2018lawfully’ took over in March 1933. The Nazis used these inherited
registration lists to seize privately held firearms from persons
who were not "reliable." Knowing exactly who owned
which firearms, the Nazis had only to revoke the annual ownership
permits or decline to renew them.

In 1938,
five years after taking power, the Nazis enhanced the 1928 law.
The Nazi Weapons Law introduced handgun control. Firearms ownership
was restricted to Nazi party members and other "reliable"

The 1938
Nazi law barred Jews from businesses involving firearms. On
November 10. 1938 — one day after the Nazi party terror
squads (the SS) savaged thousands of Jews, synagogues and Jewish
businesses throughout Germany — new regulations under the Weapons
Law specifically barred Jews from owning any weapons, even clubs
or knives.

The site
goes on to show that the 1938 German law was, passage by passage,
copied into the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968.

The parallels
between the Nazi law and GCA u201868 will leap at you from the page.
For example, law abiding firearm owners in Illinois, Massachusetts
and New Jersey must carry identification cards based on formats
from the Nazi Weapons Law.

The article
goes on to identify the most likely political suspect in having
copied the Nazi’s code into ours. He was a Democrat and a liberal.
His son now holds his seat in the Senate. Click

special interest to Jews is the extension of the gun control law,
which was signed into law on November 11, 1938.
will recall the previous evening: Kristal night, when the windows
of stores owned by Jews were smashed by the Nazis. Highlights
of the law include:

#1 Jews
(#5 of the First Regulations of the German Citizenship Law of
14 November 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt 1, p. 1332) are prohibited
from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition,
as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons. Those now possessing
weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the
local police authority.

#2 Firearms
and ammunition found in a Jew’s possession will be forfeited
to the government without compensation.

This story
is well known within the Second Amendment movement. It was JPFO’s
Aaron Zelman who first gave wide publicity to the 1938-1968 connection.
His book translates the 1938 law and then compares it, passage
by passage, to the 1968 act.

to say, liberals have not acknowledged the error of their ways
in continuing to support the 1968 Act and its subsequent modifications.
The 1938-1968 connection has been tossed down the memory hole.
But JPFO keeps dredging it back up. The Web now helps keep the
story alive.


From what
the U.S. media report, citizens of Baghdad are armed. An armed
citizenry threatens American troops. For a decade, the U.S. military
has trained to deal with urban occupation, but a real-life situation
has yet to occur.

If their
city is still standing, they may defend their homes from invading
forces. If they don’t defend, then some of them may later use
their guns to shoot occupying troops. It’s one thing for Iraqis
to approve of Saddam’s removal by the U.S. It’s another thing
entirely to think that they will submit to long-term occupation
of their country by U.S. troops.

There is
no democratic tradition in Iraq. The peaceful succession of elected
governments is not part of Iraqi tradition.

If Saddam
has weapons of mass destruction, he has hidden them well. His
son-in-law thought they had been destroyed, we now learn. If they
really were destroyed, then casualties to U.S. troops will be
imposed by defending troops and armed citizens.

This raises
the question of legitimacy. For two centuries, the United States
has gained enormous international legitimacy as the world’s beacon
of freedom. (Switzerland has freedom, but it is a closed society
— closed to immigrants.) This nation has been seen as defending
the rights of the oppressed. But an invasion of a nation across
the planet and without the ability to inflict damage on this nation
will be seen by a billion Muslims and maybe an equal number of
non-Muslims as an unwarranted extension of our military power:
the reversal of Woodrow Wilson’s heralded right of national self-determination.

is not a free resource. It is most inexpensively gained through
voluntarism. When it must be coerced, it gets very expensive for
the coercer. This is why all empires eventually contract or are

The world
cooperates with us through market exchange. It also cooperates
by allowing U.S. troops inside their borders: an estimated 130
countries. But a pre-emptive strike against a nation that must
defend itself from a superpower will not be seen as a legitimate
act. If Saddam doesn’t use WMD against us, then the Administration
will find itself removed permanently from the high moral ground.

If Saddam
doesn’t use WMD, the Administration will lose face. It will be
seen as an aggressor nation. If there is widespread armed resistance
by Iraqi citizens, it will cost the United States more than the
lives of our troops.

At that point,
international cooperation will dissipate — not overnight, but
steadily. People don’t like bullies. They will take steps to increase
their ability to resist.

The Administration
will soon be in Catch-22. If our troops enjoy a cakewalk, then
the justification for going in — Iraq’s WMD — will evaporate.
If Iraq does use WMD (VX gas), then our troops will have a tough
time of it. The cost of victory will be higher than in 1991. If
citizens resist at the cost of their lives, morale will collapse
in the military. Warriors do not gain honor by killing people
who are merely defending their homes.


How much
money will it cost to win in Iraq? Lawrence Lindsey was the Administration’s
senior economic advisor when he estimated $100 billion to $200
billion. Then he was sacked. Career-wise men learn. With no evidence
presented, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget
now says $50 billion to $60 billion. Here
is a New York Times story (Jan. 2).

Administration Official Lowers Estimate of Cost for War With


— The administration’s top budget official estimated Monday
that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50
billion to $60 billion, a figure that is well below earlier
estimates from White House officials.

Daniels Jr., the director of the Office of Management and Budget,
also said that there was likely to be a deficit in the fiscal
2004 budget, though he declined to specify how large it would
be. The Bush administration is scheduled to present its budget
to Congress on Feb. 3.

would not provide specific costs for either a long or a short
military campaign against Saddam Hussein. But he said the administration
was budgeting for both, and that earlier projections of $100
billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence Lindsey,
President Bush’s former chief economic adviser, were too high.

projections place the cost of an Iraq war in line with the 1991
Persian Gulf War, which cost nearly $60 billion, or about $80
billion in current dollars. But the United States paid for only
a small portion of that conflict, with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait
and Japan bearing the brunt of the costs. This time, diplomats
say, Americans would likely bear most of the costs.

The budget
director’s projections Monday served as a corrective to figures
put forth by Lindsey in September, when he said that a war with
Iraq might amount to 1 percent to 2 percent of the gross domestic
product, or $100 billion to $200 billion.

was criticized for putting forth such a large number, which
helped pave the way for his ouster earlier this month.

to the most recent report from the Treasury, the Federal budget
deficit for fiscal 2003 is $97.6 for the first four months. A
year ago, the figure was a surplus of $8.4 billion. (AP story,
Feb. 24).

The war has
not yet begun.

There are
lots of predictions about the de-stabilization of Arab governments
if the U.S. invades. I don’t pretend to know how accurate these
forecasts are. Some things are obvious. Most Muslims are opposed,
and these are the people the terrorists recruit.


The stock
market will not do well if there is strong resistance in Iraq.
The voters are not prepared for a drawn-out war, which would imply
civilian resistance. But starving out civilians by quarantining
Baghdad will win America no laurels. It will win the undying hostility
of a billion Muslims.

expect another 1991. But the price of obtaining this will be the
Administration’s loss of legitimacy in the eyes of the world —
immediately — and the eyes of swing voters (2004). Another 1991
will mean that there were no WMD. It will mean that the war was
about stealing oil and avenging a father’s decision to quit on
the battlefield.

Costs somewhere
between 1991’s costs and the de-stabilization of the entire region
are likely. If costs are low, the President loses legitimacy:
"No WMD after all." If they are high, he will also lose
legitimacy: "He failed to warn us!" He needs a Goldilocks
solution: just right. How many dead American troops are too many?
In my view, one. When it comes to the Middle East, and also the
Balkans, I concur with Bismarck’s assessment of the Balkans: “Not
worth the life of one Pomeranian grenadier.” But I’m obviously
an extremist.

7, 2003

North is the author of Mises
on Money
. Visit
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